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Penn College Celebrates Great Year in Athletics

It was another blockbuster year for Pennsylvania College of Technology athletic teams as they captured their fifth straight Penn State University Athletic Conference Chancellor’s Cup.

The cup is awarded to a member institution with the most accumulated points for the year. Points are awarded based on the finish of each conference team. For 2012-13, the Wildcats had four conference champions, three runners-up and totaled nine postseason playoff berths.

Penn College finished with 71 points, while Penn State Brandywine and Penn State Beaver tied for second with 57 points. Others were: Penn State Hazleton, 51; Penn State Mont Alto, 47; Penn State Greater Allegheny, 45; Penn State York, 41; Penn State Fayette, 39; Penn State Scranton, 29.5; Penn State New Kensington, 29; Penn State Wilkes-Barre, 24; Penn State Schuylkill, 22; Penn State DuBois, 18.5; and Penn State Lehigh Valley, 3.

During the conference’s end-of-the-year awards banquet Tuesday, two Penn College athletes received special honors as junior baseball player Cody Buterbaugh, of Conestoga, and sophomore volleyball player Kelly Hebert, of Wellsboro, were named the Male and Female John S. Egli Scholar-Athlete Award winners.

In competition last weekend, Penn College’s string of consecutive second-place national archery finishes was snapped at three, but coach Brian Parker was happy with the outcome nonetheless.

“I’m ecstatic. I think we did very well. We ran into some tough matches right off the bat, but, overall we did very well,” the second-year coach said about his team’s results at the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships in Cedar City, Utah, that wrapped up Sunday.

The reason for Parker’s joy is obvious:

  • One individual national champion (Kendel Baier, of Jersey Shore, in female bowhunter), two team national champions (Baier and Joe Dowdrick III, of Lebanon, in mixed bowhunter; and Baier, Brianna Batykefer, of Butler, and Cayla Easley, of Carlisle, in women’s bowhunter).
  • Six All-Americans (Baier; Dowdrick; Kelvin Dewalt, of Easton; Justus Leimbach, of Westminster, Md.; Nicole Lapinski, of Bloomsburg; and Rebecca Boyer, of Macungie).
  • A third-place team overall national finish. Texas A&M won the team title and James Madison University finished second.

“I’m really pleased and very happy for Kendel. She swept everything; there’s nothing that she didn’t win,” the coach said. “She knew she could do it. She’s been practicing hard, she kept a level head and she shot her matches,” Parker added. “At this level, if you make a mistake, your opponent is going to take advantage and she capitalized on mistakes that her opponents made and moved ahead.

“It’s fabulous that we had six All-Americans (based on the archers’ results from both the indoor and outdoor nationals). They shot well indoors, they shot well outdoors to achieve (the status). They are a special group,” the coach continued.

Lapinski was an All-American for the second year in a row.

Penn College also had seven Academic All-Americans in Baier; Boyer; Dewalt; Dowdrick; Lapinski; Matt Cummings, of Mountville; and Jordan McGowan, of Carlisle. And five Wildcat archers received Best New Archer awards: Easley; Markus Weber, of La Plata, Md.; Katie Reitbauer, of Shillington; Samantha Lantz, of Ulster; and Maxwell Trainor, of Hawley. The award is given to new archers who place in the top three in each discipline.

Individually, Boyer finished second in women’s compound, Dowdrick was third in male bowhunter, Dewalt was fourth in male bowhunter, Lapinski was fourth in women’s compound, Leimbach was eighth in male compound and Greggory Foust, of Murrysville, was eighth in male recurve.

In team competition, Boyer, Lapinski and Ashley Baker, of Coudersport, placed second in the female compound discipline.

Boyer, Dowdrick, Lantz and Tim Unverdorben, of Pine Grove, are leaving the team, creating gaps that will need to be filled.

Parker, who was assisted this season by Tom Lapinski, said Boyer is a good example of how a student with no previous archery experience improved over the course of two years to the point she finished second in the country.

“When we get them to that level, it helps, but it hurts when they leave,” the coach said.

At nationals, archers put in near 12-hour days every day. Parker said the weather was cooler than he had anticipated but the high altitude took its toll with sinus issues and headaches for some, which meant overcoming additional obstacles.

Parker added of his assistant coach, “With a shoot this big, I never could have done it without the help of Tom (Nicole’s father). He’s new this year and I could not have managed to get everybody there and make sure everything was good on our end.”

A sport-by-sport review of the year (alphabetically):

Penn College had one individual national champion in Kendel Baier, of Jersey Shore, in female bowhunter; two national team champions (Baier and Joe Dowdrick III, of Lebanon, in mixed bowhunter; and Baier, Brianna Batykefer, of Butler, and Cayla Easley, of Carlisle, in women’s bowhunter) and six All-Americans (Baier; Dowdrick; Kelvin Dewalt, of Easton; Justus Leimbach, of Westminster, Md.; Nicole Lapinski, of Bloomsburg; and Rebecca Boyer, of Macungie). The Wildcats earned a third-place national team finish.

The Wildcats had one of their best seasons ever as they finished second in the PSUAC, placed among the top six in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and won a school-record 24 games, finishing 24-17 overall and 19-4 in the PSUAC (16-2 regular season) under seventh-year coach Chris Howard.

Basketball (Men)
Under first-year coach Chris Lemasters, a rebuilding Wildcats team posted a 4-21 record, 3-13 in the PSUAC.

Basketball (Women)
In his third season, coach Matt Wilt took his team to the PSUAC playoffs for the first time, where they lost in the quarterfinals. Overall, the team finished 12-13, 7-8 in the conference.

Cross-Country (Men)
The Wildcats won their ninth straight PSUAC team title under coach Mike Paulhamus, who announced his retirement at the end of the season after 13 years. In addition, the squad finished seventh in the USCAA National Championships. During his tenure, Paulhamus’ men’s and women’s teams combined to win 18 conference titles.

Penn College placed second in the PSUAC and eighth in the USCAA and fourth-year coach Matt Haile won the conference Coach of the Year award.

Soccer (Men)
Coach Enrique Castillo guided his squad to its third straight PSUAC championship with a perfect 11-0 record and he won the conference Coach of the Year award. Overall, the team finished 15-4-1 and competed in the USCAA National Championships for the fourth year in a row. After seven seasons, Castillo announced his retirement. During his tenure, the Wildcats were 102-24-6 with six PSUAC championships and a runner-up finish.

Soccer (Women)
Playing an independent schedule, coach Markus Rybak led his third team to an 8-6-2 record, including a berth in the USCAA National Championships.

Working with an almost entirely new lineup (at the end of the season, seven starters were freshmen), coach Roger Harris’ team finished 11-19 overall, 9-7 in the PSUAC.

Team Tennis
The Wildcats excelled under second-year coach Robert Kemrer, going 7-1 and winning the PSUAC championship with three individual singles and one doubles champ.

Volleyball (Women)
Always fielding a competitive team, Penn College returned to the top under coach Bambi Hawkins, going 23-11 overall, 17-1 in the PSUAC, and sharing the conference championship with Penn State Fayette after the finale was canceled due to Superstorm Sandy. At the end of her 13th season, Hawkins retired, having guided her teams to two conference championships and a record of 184 wins and 113 losses.

In coach Schuyler Frey’s third season, the Wildcats were 13-8 overall and 5-1 in the PSUAC, where they finished second to Penn State Beaver. The team finished third in the USCAA National Tournament; in National Collegiate Wrestling Association action, it was No. 20 in the country. Freshman Ryan Hart, of Wyalusing, a 133-pounder, earned NCWA All-American honors for a Top Eight individual finish.

Athletes of the Week
Through the completion of the winter and spring sports seasons, college Athlete of the Week honors were awarded to 14 individuals. They are: Scott Fenton, of Dickson City, men’s basketball, Jan. 14; Tyler Myers, of Centre Hall, wrestling, Jan. 21; Jamie Steer, of South Williamsport, women’s basketball, Jan. 28; Ryan Hart, of Wyalusing, Feb. 4; Steer, Feb. 11; Greggory Foust, of Murrysville, archery, Feb. 25; Hart, March 4; Joseph Dowdrick III, of Lebanon, archery, March 11; Hart, March 18; Jeremy Rall, of Williamsport, baseball, March 25; Joshua Longsderff, of Columbia, baseball, April 1; Ashley Baker, of Coudersport, archery, April 8; Nicole Lapinski, of Bloomsburg, archery, April 15; Katie Kratzer, of Selinsgrove, softball, April 22; Karey Wolfe, of Milton, softball, April 29; Kratzer, May 6; Zachary Weil, of Kutztown, baseball, May 13; Kendel Baier, of Jersey Shore, May 19.

Looking Ahead
It was announced in early April that the college was approved for exploratory membership in Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The college’s one-year NCAA Division III exploratory status officially begins Sept. 1 and will last throughout the 2013-14 academic year. Exploratory membership provides institutions with an opportunity to learn more about the NCAA and Division III. After that, Penn College will consider pursuing a four-year provisional membership in Division III for its Wildcat athletic teams.

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